At night, the Subi Hotel is dark. Fairy lights adorn the vine covered courtyard but they are decorative, not functional. An interesting mix of lights are grouped in the centre of the restaurant, but they are dimmer than Britney during her head shaving days. There are tea lights on the tables, but they don't do much more than provide a warm glow to highlight your wine glass, although that is quite helpful given the circumstances.
So why is the Subi Hotel so dark? It's not as though the staff are unattractive. The punters are certainly good looking, a mix of business men in suits, couples holding hands and large tables of laughing beautiful young things (and not so young things). The food looks good too, served on large, glossy white plates: big enough to feel luxurious, but not so large the food ends up looking like a lonely meatball.
It's also very loud and I struggled to hear anyone not sitting in my lap, but now I am beginning to sound like a grumpy old Nanna, and the Subi Hotel is probably not a place for grumpy old Nannas. 8pm on a wet and windy Thursday, and the restaurant was full to capacity. The bar next door seemed fairly quiet, but there was not an empty table in sight (except outside in the rain), so bookings are recommended (especially on football nights).
Calling itself a 'gastro pub,' the Subi Hotel has seen a number of reinventions over the years. In its current configuration there are two bars (including a cocktail bar) and the restaurant.
Open from 7am til late, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were a group of 12 having dinner and despite the size of our group, service did not falter. The menu, available online has plenty of things to share, including the ubiquitous 'Subi Plate' ($25.50) which I always order for a main. Consisting of a number of bite sized goodies, it constantly changes. Today it included pork belly, spicy sausages on a creamy, almost custard-like sauce, salt and pepper calamari, a smoked salmon crostini and another delicious morsel topped with a quails egg. The predictable bowl of miniature olives were also present. Somehow it seemed less substantial than I remember.
There are five entrees - including honey roasted beetroot salad with goats cheese, orange and pistachio ($13.50) and Japanese crumbed tiger prawns ($22.50). The thirteen mains range from a Caesar salad ($19) to an aged porterhouse with béarnaise sauce and fries ($36.50). The tastes vary from the classic bangers and mash to pork belly with chilli caramel. There's not a lot for vegetarians or vegans, but if you're into protein you should leave satisfied.
In gastro pubs the main question always remains: how many veg are on the plate? Do you need to order sides? I think at the Subi Hotel, yes you do. Or at least share a side between two people. There is a decent range of salads, fries and vegetables, including duck fat sautéed brussel sprouts. I looked, but didn't see anyone brave enough to try them. Seeing them on the menu reminded me of the duck fat fried wedges at Chesters in the Swan Valley, but in that case there was a bowl on every table.
There is no dessert menu available online, but usually every time I go there, I have the dinner plate sized crème brulee. Yummy. It was not available this time, so I ordered the Subiaco doughnuts with cinnamon dipping sauce and lemon curd ($13). They may have been a tad overcooked, but then again it was so dark I couldn't tell. I ate every last bite though, so they must have been good.